If you are an Android user, you must be aware of or have used Google Wallet, a peer to peer payment service from Google. Android Pay is a similar service, but way more simple. For those who have not been keeping up with Google I/O, Android Pay is a tap-to-pay application which is built inside the Android operating system and allows you to pay for your purchases by placing the NFC powered Android devices near the payment terminal.
With the Android app, Google has simplified the process of payment to an even larger extent than its arch-rival Apple. If compared with Apple Pay, Android Pay proves to be more flexible, easy-to-use, and much more rewarding. Google has integrated many loyalty programs from different vendors and hence, allows the users to pay using the reward points. This makes Android Pay even more attractive and rewarding. On its launch, many experts were of the opinion that it was just a copy-paste version of Apple Pay. Although it appears similar, it is better in a few aspects.
Android Pay can be used by all those users who own any device that runs Android 4.4 and above, unlike Apple Pay which is confined to Apple users. Most of the major credit and debit card brands are supporting it already many others are likely to be on board soon. As the feature uses NFC, it will be accepted at more than 7 lakhs locations as of now. Another striking feature of Android Pay is that it offers an API to the developers using which they can allow in-app purchases through Android Pay.
The security aspect of Android Pay has been taken care of by Google effectively by the tokenization mechanism. When you use Android Pay for making payments, your actual credit or debit card details are not sent to the merchants. Furthermore, you are notified of all the transactions that you carry out using the application. In case you lose your phone, you do not need to cancel your credit cards frantically. You can wipe out the data remotely using the Android device manager and rest assured that your money is absolutely safe.
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Features of Android Pay that give it the edge
Support from phones, cards, banks, and merchants: As Android runs on billions of devices, the feature will be available to a lot of users. Moreover, many card brands and banks are supporting Android Pay which makes it easy for the users to get their card registered. All the NFC powered payment terminals which are currently more than 700K in number will accept payment from Android Pay. The banks that are currently supported by Android Pay are Chase, Bank of America, Citi Bank, and a few others. Android Pay will be rolled out with Android M and the Android KitKat and Lollipop users will get the update soon.
Highly rewarding: The integration of loyalty programs like Coke reward points etc will definitely impress the users as they would be able to encash their points and make their purchase as well as the experience much more rewarding. As of now, a few loyalty programs have been integrated but Google plans to add more of these to enhance the user experience. This is one feature that Apple would also wish to emulate and incorporate in its Apple Play.
Password is not a hindrance: As the Android Pay has been built into the OS, there is no password required to fire this feature. When you place your Android device near a contactless payment terminal, Android Pay initiates on its own and all you have to do is to unlock the screen and tap to pay. You are not required to fiddle with the passwords or fingerprint recognition that can go wrong in the first go and upset others in the queue.
Unlike Apple, the credit card details stored with Apple Pay do not get erased if you disable the lock screen. Google is pushing the smartphone manufacturers to add fingerprint sensors to the device so that more devices can reap the benefits of fingerprint capabilities that will come bundled with Android M.
How is it different than Google Wallet?
Android Pay may sound similar but is quite different than Google Wallet. While using Google Wallet for payments, you need to start the app, enter the pin, and then initiate the payment. In the case of Android pay, you just need to place the device near the NFC powered contact-less payment terminal. You neither have to start any app nor enter any pin to unlock your credit card. As the application is built directly into the Operating system, you just need to unlock the device and you are good to go. It is essentially the tap and pay feature but without less pain.
According to Google, Google wallet physical card will stay for a while as it is intended to transfer money to friends over the web. On the other hand, Android Pay lets you tap and pay across physical stores as well as make in-app purchases. Google is pushing Android Pay with more aggression than it showed while launching Google Wallet. Google is probably looking at the bigger picture with its latest launch.
Android Pay isn’t really about payments at all
Android Pay is much more than about simplifying payments through mobile phones. It seems like an attempt from Google to overcome the hit, its revenue has suffered in the hands of Apple. 80% of Google’s revenue comes from search-based advertisements and it is important to target mobile users as people are now invariably using mobile phones to search on the internet.
Android is an open-source platform and unlike Apple, Google does not call the shots about everything that goes into the Android handsets. Looking at Android Pay in that perspective, it seems difficult for Google to make Android Play available for all Android users. Those who do not have an NFC enabled phone or run Android 4.3 or lower may be left out and thus impact the revenue. Moreover, this feature will work only with Android KitKat and higher and in those devices which support NFC (Near Field Communication).
The mobile users of Google search engines are growing at an unprecedented rate and Google must be thinking of Android Pay as a medium that would consolidate its presence on the Web and keep it relevant when desktop becomes nearly obsolete. There are many reasons that may have prompted to launch Android Pay when it already had Google Wallet with almost similar features. Mobile payment trends represent 3% of the total global e-commerce payments but it is expected to rise because of several players jumping into the mobile payment fray including Apple.
The foremost reason which seems to justify this move by Google is the fact that a large chunk of users who use Google’s search engine, access it from Apple’s devices. The search engine used in Safari, the default browser of iOS, is Google and will remain so until Apple comes with a better alternative. It is quite apparent that Google’s take on peer to peer payment is intended to serve a bigger purpose for the internet giant.
Google flexed muscle at Google I/O when it launched its very own peer-to-peer payment service named Android Pay. Google is once again ready to lock horns with Apple, directly competing with its Apple Pay which offers more or less the same service. What gives Google’s Android Pay an edge is its ease-of-use, integration of loyalty programs, and acceptance across thousands of outlets across the US. Although people are perplexed over Google’s new launch as it owns a similar service called Google Wallet, Android Pay is touted as far simpler and more user-friendly than Google Wallet.